Information relating to falls prevention is below. For ease of printing, you may like to visit our Print Resources  page.

Staying Active and On Your Feet

Staying Active and On Your Feet, a NSW Health publication, is a new 20 page resource for the community. It contains falls information, safety checklists and home exercises in addition to other pertinent falls prevention information. It is a useful and practical guide recommended for anyone over the age of 50.

ACSQHC Falls Prevention Best Practice Guidelines 2009

Research has shown that falls can be prevented. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) has developed Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls in Older People: Best Practice Guidelines for Australian Hospitals, Residential Aged Care Facilities and Community Care 2009, which consider the evidence and recommend actions for falls prevention. The guidelines are designed to inform clinical practice in all three settings: the community, hospitals and residential aged care.

NSW Falls Prevention Network

Abstracts, conclusions and links to some of the latest research in falls prevention may be found at the NSW Falls Prevention Network site.

Lifestyle-integrated Functional Exercise (LiFE) program to prevent falls

Lindy Clemson, Jo Munro & Maria Fiatarone Singh

LiFE is an individual program of activities embedded into daily routine and tasks. In a randomised control trial published in the British Medical Journal in 2012 (BMJ 2012;345:e4547), the risk of falls in older people was reduced by one third, the ability to do everyday tasks was improved and physical activity levels increased. LiFE is a  different approach to a traditional exercise program. In the LiFE program, unloading the dishwasher can become an opportunity to improve strength. Brushing your teeth can be a chance to improve balance. Your home or your garden can be your 'gym'. LiFE activities are tailored to individual lifestyles. The LiFE manuals will introduce you to the key elements of LiFE, the underpinning concepts of embedding LiFE activities in daily routines and strategies for changing habits

The LiFE Trainer's manual and Participants manual as well as supporting resources are now available through Sydney University Press (see flyer) or go to https://sup-estore.sydney.edu.au/jspcart/Search.do?searchTitle=Life&searchAuthor=Clemson

Falls Prevention Baseline Survey Report 2009

In 2009 the Centre for Epidemiology and Research conducted the New South Wales Falls Prevention Baseline Survey to inform the review of the Management Policy to Reduce Falls Injury Among Older People 2003-07. The mains aims of the survey are to provide information about falls carers, falls status, risk and protective factors, consultation with health professionals, and falls knowledge, among community-dwelling older people. This report from the survey provides information about the health of 5,681 adults aged 65 years and over, which will provide a baseline measure against which policy can be developed and the effectiveness of population health initiatives can be evaluated.

Falls Prevention Baseline Survey Report 2009

Incidence and Cost of Falls to NSW 2006/07

The NSW Department of Health's Centre for Health Advancement has released the report Incidence and Cost of Falls to NSW 2006/07, which provides the most comprehensive estimate to date of the costs associated with falls injury among older people in NSW.

The cost to NSW for 2006/07 was estimated at $558.5million.

Incidence and Cost of Falls to NSW 2006/07 Report

Falls Prevention Research

You will also find pertinent falls prevention research information at the following sites:

  • SafetyLit publishes new abstracts from the research literature relevant to injury including falls on a weekly basis. This includes a searchable database.
  • ProFaNE the Prevention of Falls network Europe, is an active working group of Health Care Practitioners, Researchers and Public Health Specialists dedicated to the prevention of falls in Europe and beyond. This site has a number of useful resources including recent abstracts from the research literature.

Reducing the Risk of Falls in Older Adults

During 2009, NSW Health commissioned a project, the aim of which was to characterise the content and delivery of community-based physical activity programs which have falls prevention as one of their objectives and are funded, supported or promoted through a NSW Area Health Service.The project was called Characteristics of NSW Area Health Service Physical Activity Falls Prevention Programs.

The project concluded that the types, frequency and intensity of physical activity that are most effective in reducing the risk of falls in older adults include:

  • Physical activity with exercise that challenges balance.
  • Exercise needs to be undertaken for at least two hours per week, and to be continued for life and can be undertaken in group or home-based programs.
  • Walking or strength programs as single intervention do not appear to prevent falls.
  • Encouraging older people to be more active does not appear to prevent falls.

The most effective programs that target balance and provide ongoing exercise include the Otago Exercise program, group-based Tai Chi, and other group-based balance and strength programs.

The Exercise Program Inclusion Criteria for physical activity programs listed on www.activeandhealthy.nsw.gov.au was developed in consultation with the researchers involved in the Characteristics of NSW Area Health Service Physical Activity Falls Prevention Programs project.

Physical Activity Guidelines

The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing has produced Physical Activity Guidelines which outline physical activity levels required to gain a benefit, and ways of incorporating such exercise into daily life.

In addition to Physical Activity Recommendations for Older Adults, physical activity recommendations can also be found relating to Adults, 5-12 year olds and 12-18 year olds.

Physical Activity Guidelines

Exercise to Prevent Falls in Older Adults: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

The objective of this updated systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the effects of exercise on falls prevention in older adults compared to no exercise, and to establish whether particular trial design, sample or intervention characteristics were associated with a larger reduction in falls. The results are contained within the document below.

Exercise to Prevent Falls in Older Adults: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 

Otago Exercise Program

The Otago Exercise Program was designed by the University of Otago Medical School Falls Prevention Research Group. It comprises both leg-strengthening and balance-retraining exercises which get more difficult as the participant gets stronger. Information on the Otago Exercise Program is available at external websites such as:

Recommended Websites

There are a number of other websites within Australia containing useful and pertinent information relating to physical activity and falls prevention. You may like to have a look at:

 

International Reports, Resources and Websites

There are a number of useful resources available on the international stage. Some we have found interesting are listed here:

Find an Exercise Program

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